I couldn’t immediately find the words to describe what John Rizzo has meant to me all these years (actually, about two years; but it feels like more). So I went to a dictionary, and in a random walk I found some words that seem to work okay. Here’s the first one:
Finlandization, n.: A foreign policy of neutrality that makes a non-Communist country susceptible to the influence of the Soviet Union.
Okay, I didn’t say it was the most up-to-date dictionary in the whole world.
Nevertheless, Finlandization is a near-perfect term for my policy toward John F. Rizzo. His writing is awkward and (to use a favorite Tolkien term) "unclean"… Yes, it takes one to know one… I can’t follow half of his articles, and the other half I don’t want to follow, because he’s scary and way too hip.
On the other hand, he shows flashes of brilliance that belie the crap-façade that he’s presented to all of us. He knows what he’s doing; and we know that he knows; and he knows that we know that he knows. The only question left is, do we know that he knows that we know that he knows? I don’t know.
But those points of brilliance are not as important as the fact that Rizzo never compromises. (Unless compromise was an issue that he needs to take an extreme stance on.) In a world of moral lemmings, Rizzo is a mountain goat. Or perhaps a platypus. Either way, he’s not going over the f***ing cliff.
Anyway (which is one of his least favorite ways to start a paragraph, so I’ve always made a point of using it weekly), Rizzo was never neutral, which is why I’m so lovingly neutral about him.
eurybathic, adj. Capable of living on the bottom in both deep and shallow water.
On issues that are both incidental and central to the health of the Magic game and community, Rizzo dove right to the bottom of the matter, every time. And dammit, I don’t mean "eurybathic" in the sleazy sense – the term gets used that way far too often – but in the foundational sense.
Like eurybathic creatures, he would then, upon reaching the bottom of the matter, cover himself in silt and seaweed of 100,000-word elaborations, digressions, and impenetrable thought exercises. But the damn fish is still there, even if we can’t see it – and it’s still good eatin’, I hear.
jackassery, n. [do you really need the definition?!?]
I can’t believe my finger fell on this word, on this page. Talk about manna from heaven.
Of course, Rizzo is not as immature or unprofessional as he would like us all to believe. At Grand Prix: Columbus last year, I caught him in the men’s room changing out of a three-piece suit. He mumbled something about a "weekend wedding for a friend"; but don’t think I wasn’t reading the news about the G8 meeting that same week out in Lisbon. Have you ever noticed that you never see John F. Rizzo and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi in the same room, at the same time???? Gig’s up, John.
intermolecular, adj. Existing or acting between molecules.
Why, what do you know, folks! John Rizzo’s here to help me write this one. Go on, John, swing away…
Thanks a rodeo-dillo, chief. And nice work with the "eurobath" thing up there; the last time I took one of those, I ended up sharing a towel with an over-friendly Frenchman.
So Anthony asks me to comment on his hors d’oerve, and beyond the smell of bacon, I can’t say very much:
Alongitog: So what’s up, yo?
Me: Not much, bitch.
Alongitog: Is this tribute all yiddly-diddly, and all that?
Me: I guess so.
Alongitog: What, do you want me to mention one of those Sexual Familiars, or whaddya-call-ems?
Me: Well, that would be nice.
Alongitog: Well, this would be MY hippity-hoppin’ column, so no go, baldo.
Me: That’s cool, I guess. But for someone who couldn’t beat "Monthly Visitor" Ferrett in a reader recognition poll, I might have expected a little more responsiveness to reader suggestions.
Thanks, Rizzo. Always a pleasure. Let’s move on in with our dictionary tour…
agglutinability, n. capacity to be agglutinated.
Well, that’s not much help. Let’s dig deeper:
agglutinate, v. to unite or combine into a group or mass
One of the remarkable things that Rizzo did was create a following worthy of Exodus. Because he tapped into the "everyman" vibe, many readers found peace in his literary arms. I know this because many of these readers write to me regularly to tell me that "other than Rizzo, you’re my favorite author, dood [sic]."
Well, pinch me, because I must be dreaming. I’m on a silver medal dias, and if I take a quarter turn, I’ve got a startlingly correct view of Rizzo’s ass.
superannuate, v. (2) to retire and pension because of age or infirmity.
This works on its own, doesn’t it?
yoiks, interj. used as a cry of encouragement to foxhounds.
One of the undeniable legacies of John Rizzo has been his many imitators. Rizzo made ranting cool (because he did it well); and as a result of that, as well as the increase in Magic-related sites, we have more people trying to do what he does.
Believe me, folks. You can’t do it. Find another niche.
Instead, pay homage to Rizzo’s legacy by seeking him out at his New England home, standing on his front lawn, and screaming "Baaad times for Becky, maaaaan!" over and over. He will appreciate this, as will the neighbors.
But really, folks, to sum it all up: if you want to understand Rizzo the man, Rizzo the machine, Rizzo the mineral, well, you don’t have to go any further than this randomly selected word right…here…
sainfoin, n. A pink-flowered perennial leguminous forage herb (Onobrychis viciaefolia) of Eurasia that has been introduced elsewhere.
Right on. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
Stay frosty, John.